20:55, Sunday, 18.08.2019
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Who Violates Journalists Rights in Zugdidi

On the 14th August at approximately 19:30 several gunshots from automatic weapons were heard in the  Tsalenjikha district suburbs on the former area of the restaurant ‘Samtsatskhvi’. Later it became clear that criminal settlements took place there.

The incident resulted into three men wounded. Brothers Lasha and Levan Egias, Shota Tvalavadze were immediately taken to the Zugdidi Central Hospital ‘Respublika’. They were urgently operated on there. One of them was amputated of his leg. The family members of the wounded, their relatives and friends met the journalists who arrived at the hospital.

Relatives categorically resisted the journalists and did not let them to see the wounded. Moreover, several tough young men physically assaulted them. The relatives of the wounded forced the journalist to leave the hospital after a half an hour-long scuffle. It must be pointed out that there were no policemen at the hospital at that moment.

Zurab Mikava is accused for wounding the Egias and Tvalvadze. Mikava disappeared from the scene of crime. As we later found out both the accused and the wounded are criminal authoritative persons and therefore they did not want to deal with the journalists.

However neither policemen regard the journalists with favor in Zugdidi, particularly when the case deals either with the crime committed by them or abusing their power. One similar fact took place in January, this year: Joni Gulordava, official at the Tsalenjikha District Police Station within Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Regional Police Department, badly wounded D. Ghvinjilia in his face. The incident happened in the restaurant ‘Didebuli’ in the village of Ingiri, Zugdidi District. Arriving at the scene the journalists were not allowed by the policemen to shoot the fact. They were both threatened and insulted.

The journalists went to the Zugdidi Central Hospital ‘Respublika’ from the place, where the victim was being urgently operated on. The family members of the Policeman Gulordava-sister, mother, wife and a friend verbally insulted the journalist and physically assaulted them as well. Unless the medical staff and the patrol policemen tried their best, the mass media would have shared the fate of Ghvinjilia as well. Unfortunately everything was not ended thus. On the next day the group of journalists having arrived at the hospital for quite different reason, was attacked by Joni Gulordava’s family people and friends. The attempt of breaking camera was shot; Malkhaz Basilaia, Gocha Lemonjaria, journalists for TV Company ‘Mze’ and Nato Berulava, journalist for an independent newspaper were physically assaulted.  The fact was witnessed by the officials of subunit under the Zugdidi Police Department and several officials from the Regional Police Department. They were watching the quarrel quite indifferently. At present the case against Joni Gulordava has been dropped. Regarding it the criminal proceeding has also stopped and he freely travels throughout the region in his expensive new car.

Nato Berulava, Zugdidi

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